In a country where issues of national finance are on everyone’s lips because of the state of affairs, there is bound to be a palpable demand for personal finance education too. Whether you focus on making money, saving it, keeping it, stretching it, growing or just knowing it you’re bound to strike gold providing financial education in Zimbabwe. Before you strike the gold though you must build the metaphorical mine for the gold which just happens to focus on helping other people manage their gold.
Financial literacy can be loosely defined as the ability to interpret financial implications of information and decisions that gives one the ability to choose courses of action that are congruent with their financial goals. Trouble is financial literacy isn’t just about money. Managing money correctly is also about emotions and psychology.
You will need a good understanding of money. Better yet a demonstrated ability with managing money is the most important thing. It would be strange for people to take money advice from people who look like they need money advice. Zimbabwe’s environment has made the citizen very sensitive to policy announcements, and we have so many of them, you will need an understanding of accounting, finance, banking, investment, macroeconomics and monetary economics to be of use to people. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to all be your knowledge you can work with others who know these areas. To be successful you will need to pierce many barriers that prevent people from realising their financial goals.
Before the internet advice was spread freely. Unfortunately poor advise spreads a lot easier than good advice and worse still advice can be easily misinterpreted. That means you will find a lot of people are holding on to this or that advice which is bad or have misinterpreted advice to mean something it does. The debate over whether a home is an asset or not is one of the best examples of this. The goal is, of course, is to find common ground and you will do much better for yourself to understand these misinterpretations than to ignore them. Reading widely helps in this. The greater majority of books on personal finance or any subject for that matter focus on the same ideas with different expressions or perspectives. The ability to look at financial literacy from different perspectives will be a great asset in this sort of business.
There are two ways to approach financial education and I would recommend you look at both. Firstly you can do public learning in a class format. This allows you to deliver your teachings to a large group at once. Also really flexible as it can be done in person, or online via chat, audio and video. The second is focusing on one on one teaching. This is much more effective than teaching a group. Individual attention gets better results. Of course, this is more time consuming but it does compensate with the ability to charge a premium fee. Designing a curriculum for each approach is important. Understanding what you can teach to a group and an individual will make the difference here.
Splitting the curricula into modules will give you your best outcome. This creates a flexible learning approach which allows people to learn at a pace they are comfortable with while still getting the best out of your teaching. This means charging per module and this works best for the public or group training. Doing in-person visits, conditions permitting will be aided by this modular approach. With the one on one teaching, you may find a subscription-based model works better for you and the client. Say pay per month. This is because a lot of time will be spent on the details of their financial journey. Another revenue stream that can be explored is books. There are possibly millions of personal finance books but very few that deal with the specific circumstances Zimbabweans have had to face. This is a huge gap in the market that you can address.
If the revenue models sorts out the what then what I refer to as infrastructure takes care of the why. Why should the customers pay you for financial education? This is where things like a responsive informative website, an active financial literacy blog, a value-driven podcast and helpful engaging social media platforms come to play. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. This applies to care about the subject matter, not just them. So you really need to be and be seen to be about financial education. A word of caution here, some modesty is also useful. Knowing a lot about a subject is not a licence to prattle on about it forever and a day. You may find you are more useful to people when you answering questions that are pertinent to them.
Setting a financial education business needs carefully thought out processes. It’s important to note that your role is limited to education. To offer financial advice is another thing altogether and this is regulated. You must be very careful to make it clear at all times that what you are offering is education. In the long run, your results will speak for themself. While we would all like to start businesses with 1 million customers Howard Schultz’s philosophy on Starbucks coffee makes perfect sense here; Concentrate on making one excellent cup of coffee for the current customer and repeat for the next customer.